'I changed my career and now I conduct life saving clinical research.'
Katie chose to study BSc Biochemistry as a career move from working as an art & design technician and volunteering as a community first responder for South Yorkshire ambulance service and has now completed her placement year in a lab at Technostics in Hull.
‘Before this degree I wanted to become a paramedic, but soon realised the drugs used to treat individuals were of vital importance and in most cases life saving.
‘This experience sparked my interest in becoming more involved in drug discovery and clinical research, thus becoming a Biochemist.’
She was attracted to the course at Sheffield Hallam as it gave an opportunity to complete a placement year and offered a high level of laboratory time.
‘I wanted to learn to be a scientist not write about one! This course was perfect for what I wanted to get out of a degree.’
Katie worked as a research assistant at Technostics in her placement year which involved working in a lab, product development and research and preparing manuscripts for publication.
‘I was looking to enhance the skills I had gained at Hallam in a workplace full-time and, for me, Technostics offered a bit of everything.
‘Alongside all the practical skills, I accomplished seven research papers and three abstracts in my time at placement, all undergoing publication.’
Her course gave her the key skills needed to succeed in this role such as analytical skills, laboratory experience and academic writing, with a knowledge of how to reference correctly and how to use primary literature to support her written discussions.
‘Hallam enhanced my communication and confidence skills throughout the first two years of the course, which made me excel in my placement role.
‘I received total support from my placement supervisor during the full year with either face to face meetings or video calls and as the pandemic hit the university updated me with regular emails of the situation.’
As a mum of three, having dependants was something she was worried about when starting university.
‘Hallam has plenty of support in place to make sure parents can meet any deadlines and they informed me of any student grants I could apply for as a single parent on the course.’
During her time at Hallam, Katie has been a student rep for the Biochemistry course as well as a department rep, helps out on open days as a student ambassador and mentors first year students who are struggling.
These rewarding roles allowed her to achieve the Hallam Award in bronze, silver and gold which showcases her dedication to the subject while enhancing her CV ahead of graduation.
‘I have been offered a PhD starting October 2021, the funding process is currently being carried out. I would like to carry on researching in the area of pepsin and reflux and the associated diseases and diagnostics.
‘I would tell students looking to secure a placement to look at the different modules the course offers and have an idea of what you want to focus on.
‘There is loads of support in place to help students academically and with personal circumstances. The earlier you get a CV finalised in second year, the better chance you will have of getting the placement you want, as some advertise earlier than others!’